May is the beginning of tourist season here in Paris. Usually I spend a few days walking out-of-towners around my neighborhood, taking them to my favourite haunts and giving them a few tidbits of interesting information at each one. It’s not exactly a walking tour since I forget most of the historic details of each place. I tell them what I remember or what I find interesting, then when our feet are tired, we find a café with a nice view of the street. The lazy tourist. That’s how I roll.
This week, I connected with a lady from my hometown, her sister and her niece. The niece had just graduated from college and was about to move to Los Angeles.
I wanted to take her aside and tell her so many things.
“Forget the Eiffel Tower. You need to know about parking in Beverly Hills.”
As someone who lived in LA for a long time toiling away at the ol’ career, I had much to offer this young grasshopper. I wanted to tell her that LA is a big town and she’ll need a good car with great gas mileage. I wanted to tell her to use sunscreen because too many people have parts and pieces lobbed off their noses and ears. I wanted to tell her to live beneath her means and to not let Whole Foods make her lazy in the kitchen. They may cut all her vegetables, but in doing so they will cut deep into her paycheck, too. I wanted to tell her to learn to surf and spend as much time at the ocean as possible. Ditch the makeup and let the hair fall as it may. That’s the look. Don’t fall for the prices at Forever21. The fabric doesn’t last beyond a few washes.
But mostly I wanted to tell her to keep a journal.
Because if I were at the beginning of my career and green with life skills, I would have wished someone would have told me to keep a daily journal. I believe I would have been happier and better at life sooner.
Daily journal writing = Life design 101
Luckily, I came across Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way, which explained the magic of morning pages, which is writing three pages a day in a journal every day.
Writing in a journal has helped me figure out my life. Simple. Each day for the last three and a half years, time has been carved out to figure out my finances, my heart ache, my creative path, my spiritual growth, my day, my week, my year. It was the place where I figured out how to save up, pare down, quit my job and travel. On the road, the journal was my home base. The one place that was familiar when everything around me was different.
I wrote to learn what I knew.
And what I knew was that I was the boss of me and I had all the inner resources I needed to effectively deal with my situations. That if shit hit the fan, I could pull back, open my journal and figure out what to do. Most of all, I wrote down my angst in a private place so I didn’t have to offload it onto others and stink up the joint with my foul mood. Danielle LaPorte wrote recently about the scent of consciousness: A concept for noticing your energy. She writes, “Everyone around you can smell your vibe… what’s your signature blend?”
Sweet with a hint of spice.
In the end, I didn’t tell the young grasshopper much at all beyond a few tidbits about Paris. My spidey sense said she wouldn’t have heard me anyway.
Youth. That whole thing.
Plus, people don’t come to Paris to be life coached. So I held my tongue and saved my ministry for my blog, my morning pages and this article I wrote for ivillage.ca: 8 steps to leaving your job and finding happiness.
And now, I’ll will make a cup of coffee, open my journal and begin my day…